Best replacement/substitute for 100 W incandescent floods?

cat_momDecember 16, 2009

Wanted to replenish our stock of indoor 100 W reflector flood lightbulbs, and found out the other day that they are no longer available at the supply house where we've been purchasing them for years (gov't regs).

So, what would be a VERY close substitute? When we had the first hi-hats installed in this house (11 years ago), the electrician put 90 W (?) halogen floods in all of them and we HATED them. He quickly replaced them with the 100 W incandescent floods. The halogen bulbs threw off a lot of heat, and the light they threw cast stark shadows everywhere (and any areas not directly in line with the light itself, were practically cast into darkness.

The guy at the supply house told my husband that Halogen floods were our only alternative. If they are the same as what the elctrician tried 11 years ago--ugh!

I've read about CFL's but don't want those at all.

Besides hoping to avoid shadows and excessive heat, we'd like lightbulbs that go on instantly, shut off instantly, don't flicker, and can be dimmed with our Lutron dimmer switches. Does such an animal exist? I saw some sort of Halogen-Xenon hybrid (linked below). Would those fit our requirements?

FWIW, some of the hi-hats are in regular 8' flat ceilings, some are in the vaulted ceiling(s) in our kitchen and LR, and one is way up over our foyer/entryway.

Here is a link that might be useful: Halogen-Xenon Reflector Floods

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The government started the timetable for limiting the sale of R lamps in 1992 because they were so inefficient. They don't appear to put out as much heat (and light) as more modern lamps designs because less heat and light is projected out of the fixture by the old R type reflector. You should have at least been using ER or BR type lamps which are not much more efficient but were not restricted by the '92 law. (R20 lamps were exempted).

A more efficient incandescent lamp is the PAR type (parabolic aluminized reflector). If it uses a halogen capsule it is even more efficient and if it has an IR coating it is even better and therefore it is possible to use a smaller wattage.

I suspect that when you tried a halogen lamp you used one with too large a wattage and too narrow a beam spread since you probably didn't know how efficient the reflector design was. The old R lamps came in Spot (20 deg.) and Flood (60 deg.) but modern PAR lamps are made in NSP (9 deg.), SP (12 deg.), FL (28 deg.) and WFL (60 deg.).

You should try a Sylvania 75w. frosted halogen PAR Fl or WFL lamp. You should go to an electrical supply store rather than a Home Depot or the internet. The quality of light and reduction in glare will be impressive. When I renovate a house I replace the lamps in the recessed fixtures that are not going to be replaced and the owners think they're new fixtures especially if the original R lamps were not recessed above the ceiling much.

You didn't say the size. A recessed fixture that uses an R/BR/ER 40 lamp would use a PAR 38 lamp. The 20 and 30 sizes are the same. Be sure to insist on a frosted PAR lamp even if it has to be ordered. And a 130v. rated lamp will last a lot longer than a 120v. rated lamp. An IR or HIR model will be about 30% more efficient but will be expensive.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 1:42PM
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Lots of good info! Thank you so much!

Some more questions for you:

This is what we've been using in our 6" cans: 100BR/FL/RP--BR40 (large size bulbs). Would the 75W Sylvania that you mentioned equal the lighting from the 100W bulbs we are currently using? Should/could we use a 100W version of the bulb you mentioned (does it even exist)? Can we use 130V rated bulbs in our cans? DH says to tell you we have three lights per switch (Lutron dimmer). Except the bedroom which currently has 4 cans per switch (Lutron dimmer); two bulbs are 100W, two are 120W in that room.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 4:31PM
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Or you could just order a 120W R40 from the only place still providing them. I ordered 48 for a friend who uses them in his office. He refuses to switch to a CFL and does not like the heat of the halogen. They took about 3 weeks to arrive as they are special order.

Here is a link that might be useful: 120W R40

    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 8:20AM
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They are "out of stock" of the 100 W reflector floods (which might be the kind we are currently using)....

    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 9:41AM
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The federal law does not actually ban BR, ER and R lamps but sets minimum standards for efficacy (lumens per watt or LPW) for different wattages of these lamps.

A 100w. BR40 lamp currently has an efficacy of between 9 & 10 LPW and the new law sets the minimum LPW at 14. For a 120w. lamp the current average is about 12 and the new standard is 14.5. Essentially, 65w. BR30 lamps can still be used but larger wattages of BR, ER, & R lamps cannot.

PAR lamps typically already meet these standards which roughly means that a 20% reduction in wattage (or one size smaller wattage lamp) gives about the same amount of light.

The catalog linked above gives the lumens of each lamp so it is easy to determine which ones meet the new standards.

So, buy a 75w.,and an 85w. frosted PAR38 lamp with a wide beam angle (50 deg. or more if you don't like focused light) and try them out. Eventually that is what you will be using unless you like CFL or LED lighting.

If you really like a lot of light also try a 100w. frosted PAR38 WFL. It will produce more than twice the number of lumens as the 100w. BR40 lamp you are now using for the same cost of electricity. And dimming it will produce a warmer, less intense light and dramatically reduce the cost of electricity.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 11:55AM
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